Compare Life Insurance Quotes and Policies: August 2022

Compare life insurance quotes online and find the best policy for you and your family.
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Aug 1, 2022

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How to compare life insurance quotes

Getting life insurance quotes can be easy. Many insurers offer free quotes online so you can compare your options at the click of a button. Depending on the type of coverage you need, you may be able to compare quotes and buy a life insurance policy the same day. For more information on how coverage works, read our guide to life insurance.

Term life

Whole life

Universal life

Sample rate

$26/month.*

$547/month.*

$367/month.*

Coverage length

Temporary.

Lifetime.

Lifetime.

Cash value

No.

Yes.

Yes.

Key takeaway

Cheap, temporary coverage.

Simple, lifelong coverage.

Flexible, lifelong coverage.

*Term sample rate is based on a $500,000, 20-year term life policy for a healthy 40-year-old. Whole life and universal life sample rates are based on a $500,000 policy for a healthy 40-year-old. Source: Quotacy.

When shopping for life insurance quotes, make sure to:

  1. Compare quotes from various insurers to get the best price possible.

  2. Select life insurance policies with the same level of coverage to get the most accurate comparison.

  3. Check the features of each life insurance policy you compare. Some policies may include free life insurance riders that provide additional features, while others may have to be added at a cost.

Types of life insurance policies

There are two main types of life insurance: term and permanent. Within these two categories, there are various types of life insurance policies. Understanding which one is right for you can help you build a robust life insurance plan.

Term life insurance

Permanent life insurance

Term life insurance covers you for a set period of time, such as 10 or 20 years, and it's sufficient for most families. Due to its simplicity, term life is often the cheapest type of coverage. Types of term life include:

Permanent life insurance is designed to last your entire life. This type of coverage typically costs more than term life, but it offers additional features like cash value, which grows over time. Types of permanent life include:

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Life Insurance illustration of mother with young child

What is a life insurance quote?

A life insurance quote is the estimated cost of your policy based on basic information you provide to the insurer. The final price is determined once you submit a life insurance application and complete any necessary health requirements like a medical exam.

What do insurers look at when putting together your quote?

Insurers look at a variety of medical and environmental factors to estimate your life insurance quote, including your medical records, family health history, prescription medication records, health exam results, driving record and hazardous hobbies.

Term life insurance quotes

Term life covers you for a set period of time, such as 10 or 20 years. If you die within the term, the insurer issues the death benefit to your beneficiaries. Term life is often the cheapest type of coverage and sufficient for most families. Due to its simplicity, you can get quotes online and even buy a term life policy the same day.

These annual term rates are based on a $500,000, 20-year life insurance policy for applicants in excellent health.

Age

Average annual rate for men

Average annual rate for women

30

$225

$190

40

$340

$285

50

$828

$646

60

$2,362

$1,673

70

$9,298

$8,205

Source: Quotacy. Lowest three rates for each age and risk class averaged. Valid as of July 25, 2022.

Whole life insurance quotes

Permanent policies like whole life insurance generally pay out regardless of when you die. These life insurance policies often include cash value, which you can withdraw or borrow against while you’re still alive. You can get whole life quotes online, but due to the complexity of permanent life insurance, you typically can't buy a policy online.

These annual rates are based on a $500,000 whole life insurance policy for applicants in excellent health.

Age

Average annual rate for men

Average annual rate for women

30

$4,690

$4,143

40

$6,997

$6,122

50

$10,800

$9,508

60

$17,735

$15,517

70

$30,462

$27,398

Source: Quotacy. Lowest three rates for each age and risk class averaged. Valid as of July 21, 2022.

Where to buy life insurance

There are a few ways to buy a life insurance policy.

Directly from the insurer. If you’ve done your own research and know exactly which policy you want, you can often buy directly from the insurer. Check out NerdWallet’s best life insurance companies to find the right insurer for you.

Through an agent or broker. Need a little help choosing a policy? That’s where a life insurance agent or broker comes in. An agent or broker can help you navigate your options, find a policy that suits your budget and gather all the documents you need to apply for coverage.

Compare policies online. Most insurance companies support online quotes. This makes it easy to shop around for the best coverage at the right price. With some insurers, you can apply online and get instant life insurance. If approved, your coverage could go into effect the same day.

Life insurance reviews

Read our reviews on some of the top life insurers in the country. NerdWallet ratings are determined by our editorial team and take into account consumer experience, financial strength and customer complaint data.

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Life Insurance illustration of mother with young child

When you’re assessing life insurance companies, look at these three factors:

  • Financial strength ratings. These determine an insurer’s ability to pay out claims in the future. You can check out insurers’ financial strength through ratings agencies such as AM Best or Standard & Poor’s. NerdWallet recommends choosing insurers with an AM Best rating of B+ or higher, if possible.

  • Complaint ratios. Ideally, you want to choose a company with a strong track record for customer service. NerdWallet’s life insurance rating methodology favors companies that have fewer complaints to state regulators.

  • Policy options. Not all companies sell the same types of policies, and some focus on specific products, such as life insurance policies for children. Narrow your choices by reading life insurance reviews and knowing the type of coverage you want before you begin comparing life insurance quotes.

How to apply for a life insurance policy

When you've found the right life insurance policy, it's time to apply. Collect the information you need before you start the life insurance application process. You’ll likely need to provide details about your current and past health conditions, as well as your family’s health history. The insurer may need your consent to get medical records and ask you to take a life insurance medical exam. Insurers also check other sources, such as MIB Group, which collects data on medical conditions, your driving record and hazardous hobbies.

When you choose life insurance beneficiaries — the people who will receive the payout when you die — be sure you have their Social Security numbers and dates of birth. You may also have to answer questions about criminal convictions and driving violations, such as a suspended driver’s license or DUI, particularly if they happened within the past few years.

Frequently asked questions

In general, people need life insurance if their death would place a financial burden on others. Examples include breadwinners, parents, homeowners, business owners and people with co-signed debt.

Yes. Many life insurance companies offer free term quotes online. However, when shopping for permanent coverage, such as whole life or universal life, you may need to speak with an insurance agent to get a full quote.

The amount of life insurance you need depends on how much money you want your beneficiaries to receive when you die. Ten times your annual income is a common estimate, but rules like this are not universal and may not reflect your specific situation. Take into account your current finances and future obligations — such as income, debts and daily expenses — when calculating your coverage needs.

Life insurance premiums are calculated using a variety of factors, such as age, health, driving history, policy length and coverage amount. Insurers use this information to estimate your life expectancy, and then they set your premium based on the risk of insuring you.

You can gauge the financial strength of a life insurance company through ratings agencies like AM Best or Standard & Poor’s. An insurer’s financial strength can give you an idea of how reliable the company will be in paying out a future claim. This is particularly important for life insurance as these policies often have to last decades. NerdWallet recommends looking for an insurer with an AM Best rating of B+ or better.

Life insurance premiums are typically based on your age and health, and they can differ significantly among policies. For example, the average monthly cost of a $500,000, 20-year term life policy for a healthy 40-year-old is $26, according to Quotacy, a life insurance brokerage. To compare, the average monthly cost of a whole life policy with the same coverage amount is $547.

Term life is the most affordable type of life insurance. It lasts for a set number of years and does not build cash value. Term life is typically sufficient for most people.

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